The iconic images of man's first steps onto the moon were taken with a camera unlike any that had ever existed before. It had to meet previously unimaginable environmental, weight and bandwith challenges. And it had to be built using nineteen-sixties analog technology!
The Apollo 11 moon camera was the result of the dedication of a group of Westinghouse engineers. Stanley Lebar led that group.
In 2009, during the course of a tour of the Early Television Museum, Mr. Lebar offered some unique behind-the-scenes perspectives of that great achievement.
Stan and his wife were offered a personal tour of the Museum. At the end of the tour, Stan offered some personal reminiscences about the moon cameras. We're grateful for this "behind the scenes" look from one of the folks who brought us the single most memorable television broadcast of all time.
Special thanks to Matt Patoray for some of the footage used in this presentation.
TOUR OF THE EARLY TELEVISION MUSEUM
0:01:10 Mechanical sets
0:10:11 Prewar British
0:12:59 Prewar U.S.
0:18:51 World War II Military
0:24:48 Early Postwar
0:31:50 CBS Field Sequential Color
0:36:34 NTSC color
0:40:07 Cathode Ray Tubes
0:42:31 Color Wheel Converters
0:44:18 Field Sequential Color using modern technology
0:52:41 Two-color Camera
1:01:21 1948 Mobile Production Truck
DISCUSSION OF MOON VIDEO
1:03:33 Choice of interchangeable lenses vs. zoom lenses on Apollo 11 camera
1:05:01 Remote control of moon camera from earth
1:05:57 Cameras left on the moon
1:07:30 Environmental factors affecting design of camera
(At 1:07:37 there is a charming story about how the Westinghouse
engineers had access to the Internet in 1965 but only for a half hour
a day, starting at 3:30 in the morning!)
1:08:40 Stan's thoughts on watching the moon landing
1:09:53 Use of video for remote troubleshooting
1:13:17 How the loss of the Apollo 12 camera proved to be the turning point in
changing the perception of video from "non-mission critical" to
1:22:47 Why the camera included a slow scan/high resolution mode.
1:24:05 The color wheel to permit the black-and-white camera to take color
photographs that was designed but never used.
1:25:40 It was all done with analog - not digital - technology. "We were in an
1:30:11 Why Westinghouse?
1:32:57 The million dollar camera ended up as just another piece of
1:33:45 Thoughts about the missing original moon tapes and the restoration of
the existing NTSC two-inch quad copies.
1:39:45 The anniversary of the moon landing is an annual national event
1:46:08 Concern that many people did not understand all the technical details
of going to the moon.
(And another charming story, this one about two ladies caught in the
rain in Houston, Texas on the night of the moon landing who didn't
believe the astronauts would go outside in weather like this!)
1:47:50 Thoughts on the "conspiracy theorists."
July 31, 2010 Subject:
I designed the color synchronization switch
I first saw the Stan Lebar video about a year ago
It was extremely interesting. I worked at the same Westinghouse Division as Stan Lebar but I was in the Radar Control Systems Group. I designed a last minute color sync swtich circuit to synch the color wheel signals. I think all the video engineers were busy with last minute plans. It interfaced to the color coverter at Huston. That switch is mentioned by Stan at about the 50:35 mark on the video. In the video, Stan promised a DVD of unconverted color video to a technician named Cliff at about the 48:00 mark. I wonder if I could get a copy of it and possibly a copy of the converted video. I wonder what type of sync switch was used ? I could send a copy of mine for comparison.
I just found out that Stan has passed away and am very saddened. Dwight Stevem-Boniecki has dedicated his book "Live TV from the Moon" to Stan who helped him with info in writing the book. My circuit is mentioned in the book together with diagrams.
I just ordered the book myself from Amazon so I don't know all the details. It would probably be a nice addition to your archives.